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SINGAPORE – The preventive healthcare path that Singapore is taking received a boost on Thursday with the opening of a longevity clinic at the Alexandra Hospital (AH) – the first in the world to be located in a public setting.

The clinic will give patients who are well access to customised healthcare plans to help them live longer and healthier, and specialised care, if they need it.

The opening of the clinic comes amid a push in Singapore towards early intervention in healthcare initiatives. Healthier SG, which was launched in July 2023 for residents aged 60 years and above, emphasises preventive care to keep people healthier.

Speaking at the clinic’s launch, Professor Kenneth Mak, the director-general of health at the Ministry of Health, said the Government, like those in other developed nations, is focusing on the demographic challenges in ageing and investing in the field of longevity medicine.

“We are very determined that we must do something about it… The launch of the healthy longevity clinic is just one of many endeavours.

“We’re very happy to see our healthcare system step up with ground-up endeavours, which we believe are taking the right steps to putting in place a framework that supports healthy living,” he said.

At longevity clinics, patients can take tests to define their biological age and get personalised plans, which aim to help them slow down the ageing process.

Biological age, which is the rate at which one ages, is a better indicator of health span, than the number of years that one has lived. It is influenced by not just genetics, but diet, exercise, sleep and biomarkers like blood sugar levels.

Prof Mak said Singaporeans are living longer, but added that the gap between lifespan and health span – the length of time a person stays healthy – remains the same, at around 10 to 11 years.

“We want… to narrow that gap so that we have fewer years in ill health. And that’s why this is very important, because it resets the conversation, talking about the interventions you want to do before we talk about people becoming frail… people developing dementia,” he said.

The clinic at AH will charge patients between the age of 35 and 70, who have no more than one stable chronic disease, between $1,500 and $3,000 to undergo various tests.

They include blood tests to look for epigenetic biomarkers of ageing, known as the epigenetic clock, and stool tests. Longevity clinic opens at Alexandra Hospital to help Singaporeans spend fewer years in ill health

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